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June 25, 2012

Police cracks down on tourists taking parts of Rome as souvenirs

     Rome: In a bid to prevent ancient monuments from getting damaged, the Italian police are cracking down on tourists who are taking cobblestones and marbles from ancient Roman buildings. According to The Daily Mail, security staff screening bags at Rome 's airports have reported a surge in souvenirs, as X-ray scanners pick up objects in luggage during screening. The Italian police said that dozens of the square stones used by Romans 2,000 years ago and broken pieces of mosaic and other artifacts have been found in passengers' hand luggage. "They then put it in their luggage and take it home with them as a souvenir of their holiday - we have also found large milestones made from marble in suitcases that have been taken from the Appian Way ," Police chief Antonio Del Greco said. The majority of those caught are 'northern Europeans', and several British tourists have also been caught red handed. Del Greco said: "It's a particularly unusual theft and at the same time it's one that we are finding is on the increase and happening more and more often". Del Greco said those caught were left 'highly embarrassed' but were not arrested, instead they were cautioned and allowed to return home and their ancient souvenirs are returned to Rome council. Umberto Broccoli, Superintendent of Culture of the Rome City Council, said: "I should warn all tourists that the city's rich heritage should not be touched. What these people do by stealing these items is show their ignorance". "If they want a souvenir of their visit then they should buy something from a shop," he added.
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